Whole Medicine Blog

Tolstoy and IFS

By |2023-07-18T19:02:59-04:00July 18th, 2023|Health Coaching, Internal Family Systems (IFS), Uncategorized|


Leo Tolstoy opened his blockbuster novel Anna Karenina with this famous statement: All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. And went from there to show — in gloriously artful detail — how one family’s story could exemplify that observation.  Seems to me there’s resonance there with the Internal Family Systems model for understanding how any life can unfold into its own story.

~How so?

The internal family of Parts of us…when we are in harmony with each other…and there are no dragons to slay in the immediate or imagined vicinity…well we occupy a human nervous […]

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The Opposite of Trust is Not Distrust

By |2023-06-19T13:23:05-04:00June 16th, 2023|Internal Family Systems (IFS), Uncategorized|

A conversation:

I wish I could trust life, a sad Part lamented.

Tell me more about that, said Self, what does ‘trust life’ mean to you?

It’s like…expecting the good to happen.  For me, it’s the opposite.  I distrust the good, and expect bad stuff.

The opposite of trust is not distrust, observed Self. The opposite of trust is disassociation.

Huh? asked the Part.

Self began.  When you were just brand new, way before you could think about it, the nervous system inside you was making sense of your experience. Sometimes you […]

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We can do soft things, too

By |2023-05-13T06:53:17-04:00May 12th, 2023|Internal Family Systems (IFS)|

Dear Friend,

Because you found resonance with it, I listened to this podcast:

I admire Glennon’s commitment to tread the rough path of recovery from anorexia.  Yes I do. And no doubt this IS an important topic to be exploring together.  Yet Glennon’s manic, insistent tone makes me uncomfortable.  Sounds to me like a survival fight within between Parts.  Subject YES!  Object NO!  I’m trying to understand the wrestling match provoked in me around this topic.  Might life’s motion always consist of the rocking along between subject and object?  Might the nature of the relationship between the two matter more to how […]

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Ego ‘n Me

By |2023-05-10T15:23:54-04:00May 10th, 2023|Internal Family Systems (IFS)|

Ego is what holds my Parts together into a functioning Me.

Parts who are burdened, carrying unhealed wounds and unmet fears, derange Ego into reactions of hostility, fear, greed, anger and blaming.

With my Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapist’s help, I connect with the wounded Parts within and help them unburden those hurtful things they carry.

Ego is then affirmed as the happy, healthy-functioning organization of Me.

And I don’t need to give it up til I die.

Photo by David Clode on Unsplash

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By |2022-06-06T11:10:35-04:00June 6th, 2022|Articles, Breadcrumb Trail, Dr. Sharp's PlumLine Articles|

When I am afraid, my capacity to connect to someone I trust and love is diminished ~~ if not totally extinguished. The thing I need the most is the most difficult thing for me to find.

This is a pattern I see in myself and in others I work and play with. If I had a genie and he gave me one wish, it would be that this wasn’t so. I feel like my work, these days, with self and others, is to find a way to soften my aversion to connection when I need it most. In […]

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Long life and diet…according to your genes

By |2022-05-03T13:07:11-04:00April 19th, 2022|Breadcrumb Trail, Nutrition|

It probably won’t shock you to learn that new research shows eating well can add ten years or more to your life.  That’s 10 years.  Here’s a WebMD article discussing these findings.  It also won’t surprise that the biggest overall impact comes from eating more plant-based foods (legumes), whole grains and nuts, and less red and processed meat.  Here’s something you might not know about with regard to healthy eating and long life — nutrigenomicsThat’s the scientific study of how and what you eat interacts with your particular genes, and how that interaction might make you more or […]

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Welcome and Witness

By |2022-05-03T13:14:06-04:00March 21st, 2022|Breadcrumb Trail|

~~This being human is a guesthouse.  Every morning a new arrival.    (Rumi)

The recently departed, dearly beloved teacher Thich Nhat Hanh envisioned our human consciousness in two segments  — the living room, where what we are aware of within us at any given moment is visiting, and the storage below, where everything else is. If we consider our typical day for a moment, we recognize that the living room is a dynamic place, with parts of us coming and going between these inner spaces across the arc of the day, through peaks of energy and troughs of demand, and through […]


By |2022-04-20T14:01:52-04:00March 7th, 2022|Breadcrumb Trail|


Do you know the word ‘hygge’? It’s a Danish and Norwegian word (pronounced hyoo‘guh) describing  ‘a mood of coziness and comfortable conviviality with feelings of wellness and contentment.’ For me it’s like coziness: a warm living room with soft blanket, a trusted pal near by, good book, fire in the fireplace, cup of hot tea.  But beyond the physical comfort, there’s a friendliness inherent to hygge that is a signal to the nervous system it can relax its guard for the moment.  It’s safe here to be calm.

On the whole these days, our nervous systems are steadily bombarded by a […]

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Wellness Retreat or Great Work?

By |2022-04-20T14:01:53-04:00February 23rd, 2022|Breadcrumb Trail|

For a while we offered residential wellness retreats.  At the time, we were thrilled to feel we had the capacity to literally SURROUND a client suffering from chronic illness and mood problems with such potent healing modalities that their state-needle would HAVE to shift toward well-being.  We prepared the most nutritious diet for our clients, scheduled them for 3 kinds of massage throughout their stay, acupuncture, water aerobics, yoga therapy, tai chi, counseling, coaching, meditation, walks in the garden, enforced screen break:  a one- or two-week soak in powerful non-stop goodness.  It was of course expensive…but for those with the […]

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